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November 6, 2010

Callahan's take: Just play your game

AMES, Iowa - Nebraska will try to get their third win in a row on Saturday in Ames today against a feisty Iowa State team that has won their last two ball games.

As things get closer to kickoff here are the five keys to a Husker victory over the Cyclones. NU enters today's game as an 18 point favorite over ISU

Establish your will early

It's important for Nebraska to let Iowa State know right away there's a reason why they're a top 10 football team. They need to make big plays early on offense and defense and let their style dictate the pace of the game.

Iowa State is going to do their best to try and slow things down similar to what Kansas State did. The quicker Nebraska can get them out of this pace, the more likely they can blow things open early on the scoreboard.

Ball security

This one doesn't need a whole lot of explaining, as everyone is well aware that Nebraska turned the football over eight times in last years' 9-7 loss against Iowa State. Realistically the Husker probably would've won that game by 21+ points if they would've controlled their ball security problems.

The Cyclones are very opportunistic on defense and have a knack for forcing turnovers with their defense, despite the fact the biggest thing Paul Rhoads does is preach sound fundamentals. One of the only ways ISU will be able to stay with the Huskers is by forcing some early turnovers.

Getting Helu going again early

If you have a hot horse you might as well keep running him. For Nebraska, senior running back Roy Helu is fresh off a record breaking 307 yard performance against Missouri. I see no reason why Helu can't get going again on Saturday. I

I look for a steady dose of Helu early and often, especially if quarterback Taylor Martinez is still bothered by his sore ankle. This will be a game again where hopefully the Huskers can take some of the load off Martinez. They need him fresh down the stretch.

Play fundamental defense

You saw how good Nebraska's defense can be last week when they execute and play with sound fundamentals.

I really like the move at safety with starting Austin Cassidy and Courtney Osborne in back end. You didn't see near as many assignment errors or missed tackles in space. The Huskers need to play this way again on Saturday and force ISU into some early three-and-outs.

Take the crowd out early

Jack Trice Stadium can be a tough place to play if you let the crowd get into the game. The key for Nebraska will be to set the early tone with some big plays on offense and some quick three-and-outs on defense.

If the Huskers can do this, I see no reason why they shouldn't win this game handily and cover the 18 point spread. I'll take the Huskers to win and cover the points.

Callahan's Prediction:Nebraska 34 Iowa State 14
Season Record: 7-1 overall; 6-2 vs. points

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